BiggerPockets – Real Estate, Entrepreneurship, and How to Build an Online Empire

Josh Dorkin from Bigger Pockets Interview

On today’s episode of the Financial Independence Podcast, founder and CEO of, Joshua Dorkin, joins me to discuss real estate, entrepreneurship, and how he built one of the largest real-estate-investing communities on the internet.

Joshua’s story is very inspiring because it shows that given enough time, hard work, and passion, you can create something that has the potential to help millions of people.

As I begin exploring new challenges and start setting new post-FI goals, my chat with Joshua has encouraged me to think even bigger and has expanded my idea of what’s possible so I hope this interview inspires you to build something great as well.

Listen Now


  • The story of how BiggerPockets got started
  • The advantages of “scratching your own itch”
  • Why you should study other verticals and other successful businesses
  • The incredible power of “fake it ’til you make it”
  • The right way to build an online empire
  • How long it actually takes to become successful
  • Achieving financial independence through real-estate investing

Show Links

Full Transcript

Mad Fientist: Hey, welcome to the Financial Independence Podcast, the podcast where I get inside the brains of some of the best and brightest in the personal finance space to find out how they achieved financial independence.

Before I introduce my guest today, I just want to thank everyone who left an iTunes review. There’s been a lot that have popped up over the last month or so and I really appreciate the feedbacks. So thanks for doing that.

And I am also excited to announce that we will be releasing two episodes of the Financial Independence Podcast per month for the rest of the year. So look out for some new episodes coming your way soon.

On today’s show, I am excited to introduce Joshua Dorkin from Joshua is the CEO and Founder of BiggerPockets. And if you are a real estate investor, you know what BiggerPockets is. But if you are not, it is the go-to place on the internet for anything real estate investing related.

They have a podcast that’s top in iTunes. They have a blog. They’ve got calculators. They’ve got their own publishing house so that they release all these great books for real estate investing. They have just a ton of stuff going on over there. It’s an incredible community with a very active forum. And it is pretty much the go-to place for real estate online.

So I am excited to get Joshua on the show not really to talk about real estate investing, but to talk about how you build a business like he has built. Entrepreneurship is something that a lot of people in the audience are wanting to pursue. And it seems like Joshua did it right.

He built up something incredible slowly overtime. And now it is what it is today, which is an impressive business. I know he has lots of employees. I know he is helping hundreds of thousands of people with real estate investing in a non-sleazy way.

So it’s an incredible thing that he has done and I am excited to ask him how he did it.

So without further delay, Joshua, thanks a lot for being here. I really appreciate it.

Joshua Dorkin: Thanks, Brandon.

Mad Fientist: So, I am excited to talk to you about a few things, definitely the real estate obviously and also entrepreneurship because what you have done with BiggerPockets is just incredible. So I can’t wait to hear about that story.

But before we dive in, I got to give a shout out to Mrs. 1500 from She’s the one that put this together. Every time I see her, she’s like, “You got to interview Josh from BiggerPockets.” And I am sure she has been hounding you as well to be on the show.

Joshua: Oh yeah.

Mad Fientist: So yeah, thanks to Mrs. 1500. And thanks for taking the time because I know you are a busy man.

Joshua: It is a pleasure. It will be interesting doing a show with somebody named Brandon whose balls I am not busting.

Mad Fientist: Oh yeah. You can, that’s fine. But yeah, Brandon Turner. How did you two get linked up anyway? That’s a question that I am sure a lot of people on the BiggerPockets who are listening would want to know.

Joshua: Sure! I am sure we will get into it a little later, but I had run BiggerPockets for I think seven or eight years as the soloist (and again, I am sure you will ask about that afterwards). And the time came to bring somebody on board.

Brandon, he was a long time BiggerPockets super fan. He had found the site when he was looking to get going in real estate investing. He started to build a portfolio as a result of being a part of the community and he was one of our blog writers.

And when the time came to actually hire somebody to be my community manager, my first non-technical hire, he and I had become friends and it was one of these, “Hey, I think it is time to hire, trying to find somebody. Is that something you would possibly be interested?”

We literally dated for three months and we threw it around, spent hours and hours talking about it, and it just seemed like a good fit. We liked each other. So I ended up hiring him in the podcast.

The podcast, we decided to do the podcast. It just made sense to me. We were good together. We have a pretty good friendly banter and we were both excited about the idea of putting together a show. And so we just said, “What the hell, let’s just do it.”

Mad Fientist: That’s awesome. Whenever I listen to the BiggerPockets Podcast, it always makes me want to have a co-host because I am always here.

Joshua: That’s fine.

Mad Fientist: I am always here, man. And you guys are busting each other’s balls and having a good time. It definitely shows that you are friends probably before co-hosts definitely.

Joshua: Oh, for sure.

Mad Fientist: So yeah, we skipped away ahead there, but I just was curious. So yeah, for people that may not know your story, how did this all become about? How did BiggerPockets come about? What’s your personal background of it?

Joshua: When I was born, my mom liked to…

Mad Fientist: What else?

Joshua: My parents were entrepreneurs. I grew up in a household around entrepreneurship. They didn’t preach it, but I think we just lived it.

So when you went on vacation and your parents on the phone—well, they weren’t on the phone because we didn’t have cellphones, but they were stressing about that stuff or going to a landline and actually calling into work to check in and things like that, you start to figure it out.

We’d go and visit their business and get to experience what that was like. And I liked it. I thought it was pretty cool. It was fun to watch my mom in action. She had a retail store. So watching her just selling and interacting with people was always exciting.

So, I got into the whole idea of business. Being a New Yorker, that’s the world. Everybody you know and everybody who you are around is involved in business in some way, shape or form. So it becomes part of your DNA.

As my story goes, I went to college. In college, I tried a few things. I got involved in student governments. I started getting involved in car rental business at the student government. So I started to experience running a business, myself.

After school, I became a trader, a stock trader. I had done a bunch of internships in high school. I worked in a toy factory. I did all sorts of stuff just trying to learn the world I guess.

But yeah, so I was a trader in Boston. It wasn’t really for me. I ended up moving back to New York. I got into the entertainment business, which brought me out to LA. I was involved in a business in LA and realized, again, that business wasn’t for me.

Rewind a little bit in college, I started building websites for fun. That was the beginning of the visual internet in 1994. So I built the website called Splee GUI Web, I think, was the other name for it. It was the biggest site on the internet for colleges. You can find any university on the planet. And I was like, “Hey, let’s take this and make it into a portal,” because Yahoo! was hot at the time. Yahoo! had built this portal and I am like, “All right, let’s build a portal for college kids.” It didn’t really work too well.

Anyway, I had experience way back then in building websites. Fast forward, I am in LA. Bouncing around, I ended up a teacher. I ended up getting a real estate license, hating that. The teaching thing, I wasn’t a huge fan.

But while I was teaching, my brother suggested, “Hey, why don’t you go out and buy some property? Hey, I just bought a bunch of buildings.” I knew that I had some cash sitting around and decided, “Hey, why not? It seems like a good place to park some cash. I am a smart guy. Let me give this a go.” So I bought some property.

Mad Fientist: This is the early 2000s probably?

Joshua: Man, this 2004 maybe or 2003, give or take-ish. I bought some property. I pretty quickly found that I probably should have done more homework before I bought those properties. I just figured, “Hey, I am a college graduate. I can do the math. That wasn’t hard.” But I didn’t think about the people side of it.

I didn’t think of the parts that you probably need to actually educate yourself about.

And so, I found myself in situations where I had property managers who I hadn’t really vetted appropriately because I didn’t know how to. We were bringing tenants that weren’t great. We were doing work on the buildings that maybe we should have done differently.

And little by little, it all started to catch up with me and I started to find myself in trouble and realized, “Wow, I need help.” What do I do?

So, I looked at the landscape and said, “Okay, what’s out there?” And there were a couple of websites that existed to help real estate investors. But those and anything else that I found online or off- were tied into that get rich quick crowd, the late night TV, the gurus, these guys who say, “Hey, you get a free course, but your free course is really an upsell for $900 weekend bootcamp, which is an upsell for a $5000 weekend bootcamp, which is an upsell for $25,000, $50,000, $75,000 private training with so and so.” I’d see it and I am like, “Come on. This is ridiculous.”

Thank God, I come from New York. I am very proud of these things. We learned how to smell the bull. And I was like, “I am not going to get myself caught up in any of this drama. I can’t find anybody or any platform or anything that’s really independent from that.”

And so I said, “You know what? I have got a background in building websites. Let me just do this. Let me take this space and create a community and put together a bunch of resources that are going to help me.”

In the beginning, it was fairly self-centered I guess. But I very quickly realized that, okay, as people started coming to actually help me out, I was like, “Oh, this is actually a really good idea for something to help other people out.” That’s when I decided, “Oh, I am not going to shut this down. I am going to keep going and I am going to build it up and help folks.”

Obviously, over the years—I mean, that was 11 plus years ago—over the years, BiggerPockets has transformed to become this unbelievable site that helps tens of millions of people now.

Mad Fientist: That’s crazy, yeah. What are you guys up to now? You guys have so many. I am a member and I get all your emails and things and it’s great. It’s just amazing just how much good information there is and in so many different formats. So it is impressive to see it as it is now, but it is fun to try to picture it as it was back when you started, which was 2005. Is that right?

Joshua: I think it was August, 2004.

Mad Fientist: August, 2004, okay. So how did it start? Was it just a blog at first or was it just a forum? What was the first incarnation?

Joshua: I don’t know if blogs existed. Well, blogs borderline existed then. I am pretty sure that was when Will Wheaton was like, “I am going to create the first blog.” I think it was Will Wheaton. I give him credit even if he wasn’t the guy because he was the cool blogger back in the day.

Mad Fientist: Right.

Joshua: But I just started building web pages for resources that were helpful to me. So I was looking for, “Hey, how do I find deals maybe?”

So, I started to put together a list of banks that offered foreclosures. And then I created another page on this topic and another page on that topic. And then I went out and found some software to let me build a community and forum.

I had never run a forum. I spent a little bit of time in forums, but not a ton. And I said, “All right, let me figure this out.”

And so it was a training ground. “Let’s learn how to do this. How do I learn how to run a forum? How do I learn how to build these things? What is it like?”

And so everything, over the years, has been just experimentation. “Let’s try it. Let’s study other people who are doing things well in other verticals and figure out how I could do the same or do better.”

So, it started as a forum and just a bunch of resources. I believe a year or two later, I ended up launching the blog. I didn’t know what the hell I was doing nor did anyone else. And some of the crap that I put out back then was just atrocious, really terrible.

But I had no idea. There was no Google then. There weren’t communities. There were some communities, Web Pro World, Webmaster World that existed for building websites, but I think everybody was trying to figure it out.

And so little by little, we just played, experimented, launched a blog. MySpace was hot and I was like, “Oh, this is cool. Yeah, I should build a social network. That’s a great idea.” So I went and paid an outsource firm to help me do that. And they had a team in India. It seemed like a good idea.

And many, many months later, and lots and lots of money later, I got back a whole chunk of code that I had to throw in the trash, completely useless. Everything I had made in that, I think it was a three year period or something, was gone.

I had to decide. That was one of the earliest “Hey, do I get off the pot?”

I decided not to. “So how do I go forward, continuing to build this platform out and just stack it out?” There were lots of lows and not so highs and struggles—struggles, struggles. But really it was the path.

To make the long story short, it was cool, a great idea, a hobby site. Josh starts playing in building this site that’s going to help him with his business, realizing that it may be valuable to other people. So he takes it a little more seriously, but it is still a hobby site.

He decides to hire a developer after this whole thing fell apart with the social network to help me start to build it little by little. So now, I have got this lifestyle business. It’s starting to make me a little bit of money. But I am doing everything a developer is doing—the code, I am doing the marketing, the PR, the content, community management. You name it, I was doing it.

And by the way, I didn’t know what I was doing. It was just figuring it out, right?

Mad Fientist: Right.

Joshua: And then eight years later, I was burnt out. Seven or eight years later, I was working 80 to 100 a week every single week. I couldn’t escape my keyboard. Whenever I travelled, whatever I did, I can go five minutes and it was like crack. I have never been addicted to crack, but I imagined it might be the same thing.

It was one of those turning points. I said to my wife, “I think I am done. I can’t do this anymore. This just isn’t working.”

Mad Fientist: So, were you working another job alongside of this at this point? Or did you go fulltime with BiggerPockets?

Joshua: I went full time. Yeah, good question. I was doing the teaching thing. I did that for four years. And about two years into the teaching thing is when I launched BiggerPockets.

So the first two years, I was doing it nights and weekends. And then I quit my job. My wife had a good job. She was doing well, and so she was mostly supporting us. I was making a little bit of money. But we lived frugally, cheaply, for the most part, and so we were able to make it.

But we eventually said, “Oh, you know what? Let’s give this a go. Let’s try it. It coincided when we got married and we moved out to Denver from LA.”

But yeah, I had this moment. I said, “What do we do?” And I decided I was going to hire somebody to help me solve that question. And so I hired a consultant and we really worked through the business and ripped it apart and spit out a much slimmer version of what we had created.

And still, we are at the point where, “You just can’t continue to run this business yourself. Go get a loan from the bank. It looks like if you take a crap salary, you can pay somebody else.” So that’s what I did.

I hired Brandon. So now I had three people on the team. That was really the beginning of the transformation from lifestyle business to a proper company.

Fast forward now, three and a quarter years and we are a couple of days from hiring our 21st person at the company.

Mad Fientist: Wow, congratulations.

Joshua: Yeah. It’s going like Gang Busters. There was a lot of “Fake until you make it.” In those early years, people are like, “Oh wow, how big is the team?” And I would always speak in we, but the we is me and myself because I was doing the job of 17 people. But yeah, it has been a journey for sure.

Mad Fientist: It’s very inspiring because you look at BiggerPockets now, and it looks like this amazing thing that some grand mastermind at the top had this amazing vision to create this incredible thing. Yeah, Josh is doing evil fingers. I am watching online on video.

But it is great. It’s just somebody starting out who’s just scratching their own itch, I think I have heard you say before in the past, which is a great way to start a business. When you want something and it is not there, find it.
That’s exactly what I created Mad Fientist. I wanted some more deep math posts and optimizations and I didn’t find it, so I figured I’d do it myself.

But then just to experiment and keep going and learning from your mistakes and building on your successes, that’s great.

A couple of questions that came up when you are chatting about how you got to where you are today. Was there a big jump in productivity when you left your full-time job? Or was having all that extra free time—Parkinson’s law, by the time you give something, that’s all much it takes to actually feel…?

So do you think that made a big difference in the growth? Or was it the time that you started hiring out that really made the big difference?

Joshua: It was the hiring out. What I have learned an incredible amount in the many years of this journey, the biggest thing that I took away from the consultant was “You are so stuck in the business and you are not working on the business.”

It’s trite for people who get it, but a lot of people don’t actually get it.

In fact, I was watching a Shark Tank recap last night. I saw these guys who have built this business doing 10 million in sales. It’s the two of them and they are slaving away 20 hour days. I want to shake them and say, “Hey, your mentor needs to be telling you to stop this. This is crazy.”

I experienced it. I wish somebody shook me and told me there is another way, there is a better way.

But I used that time to just dick around on the site there. It was good. I am not going to take away the value of that time because I think had I not spent that time in BiggerPockets, the enthusiasm, the core, the strength of the community itself would not be where it is today. And so, that time was definitely time well spent.

It’s tough because had I gone immediately and started to try to hire and build a business around this platform, proper business, I don’t really know if it would have succeeded. I think I probably had to go to through that phase in order to get to the point where I can hire people.

And I think I probably had to do it maybe not seven or eight years. Maybe it was five. But I had to cross certain thresholds in order to make that change. Had I not, I think I would have been yet another one of the communities that launched and died because over the years, I have seen dozens and dozens of dozens in our vertical alone.

Mad Fientist: Right, okay. Yeah, I know that’s crazy. So yeah, now you start hiring some people and things really start taking off. So did you pretty much rewrite the whole site from scratch at that point with the new developer or do you keep on some stuff and just slowly start weeding things out?

Joshua: We have been building stuff from scratch—and probably stupidly so. A lot of people ask me if I wrote a book about myself, what the title would be. It’s one of the interview questions that we ask. And mine always has something to do with “Boy, you’re stupid.”

We wrote code that we didn’t need to write. We did things that we didn’t need to do. We built stuff that we probably could have used open source software or done other pathways. But we built it.

We built BiggerPockets from zero. So yeah, I used open source forums at first and then we wrote our own forums afterwards. We wrote our own blog platform. We wrote our own—you name it, we have written it. So I don’t know if that answers your question.

Mad Fientist: Yeah, I was surprised by that. Actually, when we first met in FinCon a couple of years ago—I forgot what we started talking about, we started talking about Ruby on Rails because that’s what I program in. You’re like, “Yeah, BiggerPockets is all Ruby on Rails.” I was like, “Whoa, no way, you created everything from scratch. That’s amazing.”

Joshua: Or stupid.

Mad Fientist: Or stupid, yeah. But it looks like it’s paying off now because you definitely get a lot of interesting functionality that would be hard to get with just WordPress alone, I think so.

Joshua: Exactly.

Mad Fientist: Specifically the email notification. That has been great. I am not a real estate investor, but I want to keep my eyes open in Pittsburgh because that’s my hometown. Maybe we’ll get back there one day and it seems to be like a good place for buy-and-hold investing and things like that.

So, I just get all these emails from BiggerPockets. So any time Pittsburgh is mentioned in any of the forums or anything, I get an email, which is awesome. It’s really cool. So that was a good feature to implement.

Joshua: Oh yeah, exactly. And that’s totally custom. By the way, I don’t know that they’d be kind to you in Pittsburgh if you are rocking the kilt. So just watch yourself.

Mad Fientist: Yeah, I know, all the kilts. Have you ever worn one?

Joshua: I have not, but I can imagine some freedom down there.

Mad Fientist: Oh, you don’t even realize how free it is. And you have to be a true Scotsman, which means no boxers or underwear or anything, which I got yelled at at my wedding because my wife was like, “This is your wedding. This is not appropriate.” And I was getting tossed in the air by all my groomsmen. It was not a good situation.

Joshua: That is awesome. I am glad I didn’t see the video.

Mad Fientist: Yeah. So anyway, getting back on topic, if people in my audience aren’t too familiar with BiggerPockets, can you just talk a little bit about what you offer right now? You guys are doing tons of stuff. You got the podcast, the blog. You are your own publishing house now pretty much, aren’t you?

Joshua: Yeah. So I’ll really, really quickly bring you through the offering of what we are.
We started with the forum. Those resources that still exist today. So the community, the forum really is the heart of BiggerPockets. We do 2000 or 3000 new posts a day. It’s insane. I mean the engagement that is happening and the enthusiasm just continues to grow.

We’ve got almost 500,000 members. It’s just people coming in and looking for that financial freedom. It’s folks and anybody from somebody who’s like, “Hey, I heard about real estate. It would be a great way to make some money,” to somebody who found out about it as, “Real estate might be a path to financial freedom,” to the guy who has been in the game for 15 years and has a couple of thousand units and uses our platform to network and find partners and find opportunities.

Brandon Turner is a perfect example of a BiggerPocket success story. The guy, when he started working for me, he didn’t need a job because he had built up wealth using real estate on his own. And now he works for us because he loves it and it’s a huge part of our world.

We’ve got—I don’t even know how many—BiggerPockets millionaires, people who have literally just started with nothing, found BiggerPockets, used BiggerPockets as a means to learn, to find partners, to find opportunities and have built up their wealth to a pretty sexy number.

So there’s that community, there is the social network. We have got a multi-author blog. We call it our web magazine. We’ve got 20, 30, 40—it depends on the week—folks contributing content in the vertical in real estate investing.

And the idea really is we want to put out the best information. We want to democratize the real estate information space, take people who are getting their hands dirty and have them help share what they know, what they are experiencing with everybody else. So there is the blog.

We’ve got a file platform where people can file share forums and things like that. We’ve got a free course. We put together a video course. We wrote an ultimate beginner’s guide. The video course is based upon it, but it is a free book basically.

The whole premise is we want to open up the information space. I don’t think somebody should have to pay $50,000 for some salesman, for some guru to learn real estate investing. I think people should be able to get any bit of information they ever want to learn for free from BiggerPockets.

And we are never going to charge for that.

Now, we do make money. We have to make money. Otherwise, we’d collapse. So we built tools. The site has got a marketplace. If you’ve got deals that you want to promote, you can pitch those in the marketplace. You have to be a paid member to do that.

We built things like a Calculator Suite. Whether you are looking to flip a house or buy and hold a house or do something called wholesaling, you could run the numbers through any of our calculators. We’ve put together these really amazing reports. Take it to your lender and say, “Hey, here’s a deal that I found that looks great. Here’s the professional report on the numbers. We are looking for a loan.” It’s also great for partners.

In order to be able to do some of the things with the calculator, you need to have a paid membership. But information, knowledge learning is totally free in BiggerPockets tools. Some are free. Some, we charge for. That’s the model there.

Outside of that—I know I am talking away here.

Mad Fientist: That’s good.

Joshua: We have the podcast. I think we just put out show 170 today, I believe it was. So we put out a show a week. And the podcast is all about interviewing folks who are whether just getting started, a guy who just bought his first rental property who can walk our listeners through what that experience was like all the way to folks, like I said, who—

We just had a guy this week. He had done 25 flips and he owns 1400 units over the course of something like seven years. And how did he do that? So we break it down.

And we will do shows from newbie shows to much more advanced shows. But we want to be the podcast that’s out there just trying to teach people how to build wealth, how to build real estate portfolio, how to use real estate as a means for passive income to get them to retirement and things like that.

At the end of the day, our philosophy is there is no one path. There is no one correct way to do things in real estate. So let’s create this business, this platform that helps people find their way and figure out what’s best for them.

What’s best for you Brandon is not going to be the same thing that’s best for me, that’s not going to be for even somebody financially in the exact same position as you. Maybe somebody who is 65, maybe somebody who is 20, they are going to have different ways of going about things.

And so we use the community to help people learn what that is and find their way.

Mad Fientist: Yeah. That’s an amazing community you built as well. How long do you think it took to really get to a self-sustaining community? It’s just amazing what it is today and it is hard to imagine what it was early on. But how long did it take?

Joshua: That is a tough question. I think there were lots of inflection points, tipping points along the way. I think it was year three or four where I didn’t have to necessarily post every day in order for new threads to be posted. By year six, I had five great moderators who were helping to encourage more activity and initiate.

I think there are a lot of points. I couldn’t point to one point now. I wish I took notes along the way.

Mad Fientist: That’s good to know. Three or four years is a lot of work on your part to get something done. So I think that answers the question well enough. That’s a lot of hard work, sweat and tears probably to get to that stage.

Joshua: Oh yeah.

Mad Fientist: …which is really impressive. So yeah, it sounds like you figured out something that you want to know and want to be in the world. Work really hard for a while, try stuff, fail, learn from it, keep going. And as long as you are patient and have faith and still enjoy what you are doing, it sounds like you can get to this stage.

Is there anything that you would have changed along the way or would have done better or do you think everything played a part into the success of BiggerPockets?

Joshua: I think one of your points, have faith and work hard, I had folks who had told me along the way many, many people, friends and non-friends, friends and foes and even folks who were—I had sat down with some pretty knowledgeable VCs. And a lot of people are like, “What are you doing? This is not going to go anywhere. Why are you continuing this? You are doing okay, but it is never going to be anything like it is actually today.”
I think there was somewhat of a—I had a belief. I knew that BiggerPockets was transforming lives. I knew that it could continue to do that. But it wasn’t a great business for a lot of years. Yeah.

And I will even say today, it is not a great business because we don’t necessarily put business first. We put user first. If we wanted to just monetize the crap out of our users, we could do that. There is no doubt about it. And I am pretty sure, we wouldn’t lose too much.

But for us, we want to put our users first and foremost. We want to help them, we want to educate them. We want to make it affordable. We want to make it so people don’t have to—

Like I said, I started this business, the website because I was sickened by the tactics that were being used by people to “educate” people in the real estate investing world.

We have countless people today still who come on the site that are like, “Yeah, I just spent $50,000 on XYZ, and I’ve got nothing to show for it. And so hopefully, I can get going, but I am frustrated.”

I am not saying that doesn’t work for everybody because, certainly, it does work for some people, but I think the vast majority of people even who come to our platform who try and say, “Yeah, I am going to be a real estate investor,” they quit. So we are not a guarantee of success either by any means.

But I think if you are methodical, like you had said before, and tactical and you stick it out and you are intelligent about how you go about doing it, your odds of success are much higher.

I probably could have quit along the way. Maybe I should have quit along the way, but I am sure glad I didn’t. And I know there are millions of people who probably would say the same thing.

Mad Fientist: Absolutely. Fantastic! Yeah, it’s just really inspiring. It is an incredible community.

And I will obviously link to all the great things that you talked about in the show notes and also link to a couple of the books that you guys are putting out, which is another avenue that you are exploring.

Joshua: Oh yeah, we didn’t even talk about that.

Mad Fientist: …which is awesome, yeah. The Book on Tax Strategies for the Savvy Real Estate Investor, that’s the one that appeal to me because I know there are a lot of really cool tax avoidance stuff you can do with real estate.

Joshua: Absolutely.

Mad Fientist: So, I will link all that in the show notes as well.

But I usually ask my guests what’s one piece of advice that you would have for somebody who wants to pursue financial independence or early retirement. And it could be entrepreneurial, it could be real estate related or it could be just personal advice.

Joshua: Sure! From a self-interest perspective, I do absolutely believe that real estate is an incredible path to building wealth, to building financial independence if you have not yet explored it.

And we look at money through a funnel and we see real estate typically fairly close to the end of the funnel. You learn about banking and then you learn about stocks and bonds and yadda-yadda-yadda, mutual funds. Most people never get to the point where they actually learn about real estate.

And so I strongly encourage everybody listening to consider real estate. I think it is an incredible way to build wealth. The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide that we wrote, which you will link to, is at, again, is a free book that will literally just tell you—you don’t even have to give us an email. You just go to that website and you can read the book. It is eight chapters. It will walk you through how real estate works. You will at least know the basics of it.

I encourage everybody to learn that and see if it is something that you are potentially interested in.

There are other ways to do it. There are communities like Pat Flynn’s, where you can build businesses, web businesses and some things like that. There are lots of ways to go and build financial independence. Real estate is a pretty good one. So I just encourage everyone to check it out.

Otherwise, find what you love. If you hate it, try something else. Don’t stick with things that suck because you will be miserable. Financial independence talks about independence. And if you are just getting financial independent, but you are personally miserable, why the hell are you doing it?

Mad Fientist: Exactly.

Joshua: So, build a life that you love. Build a life that makes sense for you and your family. And whatever path that you take to get there, just keep that front and center.

I think people lose the happiness part of life and they forget about why we are here and what we are trying to do and that’s to just live cool lives and doing crappy jobs that you hate or doing financial activities that make you financially independent, but you are miserable, that’s not the way to do it.

Mad Fientist: Absolutely. That’s fantastic advice. Josh, I really appreciate you taking the time to talk with me.

Joshua: All right, Brandon.

Mad Fientist: Thanks a lot, man. I appreciate it. Take care.

Joshua: You got it.

Mad Fientist: Bye.

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9 comments for “BiggerPockets – Real Estate, Entrepreneurship, and How to Build an Online Empire

  1. Jim @ Route To Retire
    August 25, 2016 at 4:43 pm

    Now we’re talking! I love your podcasts and I’m a huge fan of BiggerPockets… this is like the best of both worlds. Downloading now!!

    — Jim

    • Joshua Dorkin
      August 25, 2016 at 11:31 pm

      Thanks Jim! I hope you find the interview to be valuable — or at least interesting.

      • Jim @ Route To Retire
        September 15, 2016 at 8:25 am

        Finally got a chance to listen to this – nice job to both Brandon and Josh. Great interview! I liked finally getting to hear the background on how BiggerPockets got started and also how Brandon (Turner) became a part of it.


        — Jim

  2. Dividend Growth Investor
    August 25, 2016 at 5:37 pm


    Thank you so much for taking the time to interview this guy from Bigger Pockets. Real Estate investing is an area I need to learn more about. I see opportunities all the time for cash flow real estate, I just want to create a framework to evaluate them and make sure they are not duds.

    Dividend Growth Investor

    • Joshua Dorkin
      August 25, 2016 at 11:33 pm

      Hey DGI – Thanks for your note and please take some time to check out the resources we’ve got available to help you on your road to real estate cash flow at BiggerPockets. Good luck!

  3. Mr. Tako @ Mr. Tako Escapes
    August 29, 2016 at 5:43 am

    Fascinating interview of a successful entrepreneur Mad Fientist!

    Before this interview I had never heard of BiggerPockets before!

    While real estate investing in the Seattle real estate market (where I live) isn’t my thing, things always change. If someday the numbers start to look better, I could see myself building a small real estate empire.

    Thanks for sharing Mad Fientist!

    • Joshua Dorkin
      August 29, 2016 at 11:31 am

      Hey Mr. Tako –
      I hope you’ll jump in and start to explore BiggerPockets, particularly our Podcast. I think you’ll find that there are opportunities for most people — you just need to know how to find them. Our show does a really good job of exposing you to different ideas and strategies from successful investors around the country. Check it out!

  4. Chad Carson
    September 1, 2016 at 1:18 pm

    This is a combination of two communities I love – MadFientist and BiggerPockets … awesome! Thanks to Brandon and Josh for doing this.

    I think the back stories of any success are so interesting. Josh’s BiggerPockets story really shows the non-linear, organic way great businesses are formed. But it also shows how a strong mission, in this case non-cheezy, helpful, free real estate education and support, can fuel an amazing movement.

    Great job both of you in this interview. Enjoyed.

    • Joshua Dorkin
      September 1, 2016 at 3:54 pm

      Thanks Coach! You rock, man.

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